Diagnosed as a baby with a rare respiratory disease that impacts the neurological system, Annabelle has defied doctor’s odds. And while there are some challenges to her condition, her family sees her as a fighter.
“It has been a struggle, as she is mentally between 18 and 36 months old,” says Annabelle’s mother, Laverna. “But she continues to fight to be here, and with her family.”
Annabelle had to fight especially hard a year ago, when her lungs began to shut down. Her family, who live around the country, worked hard to be with her for the numerous treatments and hospital visits but couldn’t always be by her side.
“Annabelle’s father lives in Montana and her brothers live in Arkansas,” said Laverna. “When the doctor brought up Make-A-Wish Arizona, having her family be together was a top priority for her, so a trip together was a perfect wish.”
Everyone in Annabelle’s life brainstormed as to what she loved most, while also working with Make-A-Wish Arizona volunteers to create a trip that would accommodate her needs.
“Annabelle loves everything about the outdoors. She loves taking long drives with the wind in her hair, swimming in the water, boats and animals,” said Laverna. “Taking a wish trip to the beach would bring enormous amounts of sunshine into her life.”
With the perfect beach just hours away, Annabelle and her family headed to San Diego for a week together.
Annabelle spent the week laughing in the sun.
“Seeing the pure happiness on Annabelle’s face as she built sand castles and played in the water with her father and brothers was a true joy to me,” said Laverna. “She doesn’t get to see them often and I could see on her face how much it truly meant to her.”
The family also enjoyed taking a boat ride on the ocean, and visiting the San Diego Zoo.
“Annabelle could not stop smiling while we were out on the ocean,” said Laverna. “I could tell she also really enjoyed being around all the children at the San Diego zoo, and seeing all her favorite animals.”
“This trip was a blessing,” said Laverna. “It brought us closer as a family and everyone was extremely helpful and accommodating to Annabelle’s needs. It could not have been more perfect.”